10 Things I Love About Portland Summers


Summer is a great time of year in many places, but Portland summers are extra special. Here’s a list of ten things I love about Portland summers, in no particular order.

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Portland Summer portland summers

  1. Water

    Whether you go to splash pads, pools, lakes, or rivers, Portland has plenty of places to cool off with water. Some places, like Jamison Square, are more well-known, but your corner of Portland probably has a quieter place for you and the kids to do some frolicking in the water.

  2. Lawns

    From concerts to movies in the park, you can get your fix of outdoor entertainment all summer long in Portland, and you can bring the kids along most places (some spaces are still determining specifics for this summer). Let the kids dance and play while you sit back and listen to some tunes or watch a movie under the stars.

  3. Dining Al Fresco

    With the break in the rain, Portland patio dining is more inviting, and the parks are populated with picnickers packing their own cuisine or takeout from their favorite restaurants and food carts.

  4. Berry Picking

    Our proximity to the Fruit Loop and other you-pick attractions makes it easy to find berries, cherries, apples, and more. From Sauvie Island’s sprawling strawberry patches to smaller farms scattered across the metro area, we have so many places to grab some fresh, juicy berries.

  5. Farmers Markets

    The fertile soil in the Willamette Valley and surrounding areas gives us a rainbow of produce to choose from year round, but that bounty is especially obvious during the Portland summers. I love grabbing a coffee, browsing the rows of the farmers markets around town, and munching on gourmet food like crepes, tamales, and scones from local chefs.

  6. Camping

    Thanks to urban growth boundaries, you don’t have to go far to feel like you’re camping in the middle of nowhere here in PDX. We recently camped in a yurt at Lost Lake Resort (less than two hours from home) and at a campsite in Oxbow Regional Park (45 minutes away). 

  7. Cool Treats

    I love that Portland has ice cream and frozen yogurt as well as Hawaiian Shaved Ice. No matter what your favorite type of cool treat, you can probably find it in Portland. I’ve even had a lavender-ginger ice cream sandwich and a wine-sicle (which is just as great as it sounds).

  8. Playgrounds

    From moss-covered bridges straight out of a storybook to pirate ships worthy of the high seas, Portland playgrounds are anything but boring. There are new parks and park improvements coming every year: K’hunamowskst Park in Northeast opened in 2015, and Southwest’s Spring Garden Park opened in mid-June 2018. 

  9. Weather

    This summer has started off pretty mild, and I’ll be glad if it stays that way. The blue skies, mild temperatures, and fresh air that this summer has given us make Portland the perfect place for summer adventures.

  10. Sunlight

    After rainy winter days with six hours of daylight (okay, that might be an exaggeration), Portland’s long days are particularly lovely. I don’t always love waking up with the sun at 5:30 in the morning, but it sure is nice to let the girls play in the yard well past 8 or 9 at night.

There are plenty more things to love about Portland in the summer, like cultural events, expos, and carnivals, but hopefully my short list will help you remember what you love about our city in this season of sun, sand, and school breaks!

What is your favorite thing about Portland summers?

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Aside from being a writer, Kendra is a Birth Trauma Doula at KarysMa Birth, where she helps moms find their joy after birth trauma. A former middle school English and theatre teacher, she has an insatiable love for learning and a flair for the dramatic. Among the best moments of her life, she counts marrying her husband Steve during a dream rainbow wedding, planning a princess picnic on the beach with her eight year old daughter Karys, giving birth to her one year old daughter Saryn in the middle of a blizzard, and sitting on stage with Glennon Doyle. A Navy brat for the first 13 years of her life, Kendra settled in Virginia for eighteen years before she was finally ready to move again, relocating to Portland in 2014. You can find her work on Portland Moms Blog, The La Leche League Blog, and The Not Your Average Mom Project, as well as the hard drive of her computer.